Walking across the street from me
From the waist up was all I could see
White shirt and curly hair blowing
Sunglasses and a shoulder bag
A Fiat between us prevented me to see
Your purple pants.


Parking near the ballpark is no walk in the park. We're here to see Bill "The Spaceman" Lee, 65, who played for the Red Sox and the Montreal Expos, when Montreal had Baseball. I remember his Topps Card. Pitching with a space pack on. He had a moon ball. I remember him winning a lot of games. The Spaceman was breaking his own record as oldest pitcher to win a professional game, I had to see this old man suit up for a minor and independent league club, who was hosting a team from Maui. Who's heard of these teams? At the field were fans here to to see one man. The aforementioned Spaceman.

We're meeting Jake at the gate. We have two printed tickets. I'm with Maggie. We've been in the car one hour, driving to and looking for a place to park the car. I don't want to miss the first pitch, and am showing signs of irritability. I said something wrong. It turns out it's not sold out. Jake got a wristband and we traded our tickets for wristbands. And we were in the stands for opening pitch. We couldn't have timed it better. Except for Jake standing in line alone while we fought before finally parking the car.

The old man went to work and was hitless through 4 innings. The luck wouldn't last. Lee gave up 3 runs in the 5th. It doesn't faze him. He gets up to bat and hits an RBI, 3-1 Maui. The Pacifics of San Rafeal, tie it up in the 6th inning 33. But #20 on hits a one run shot to take back the lead 4-3. That's when a relief pitchers stands up.

Maggie goes for food. Asks if I want anything. I say no but now I do. I'm hungry and have to go to the bathroom. Jake and I play catch up. I find out about the girl who dropped him off, the one he spent the day with. I get the last bite of Maggie's sausage.

I stretch my legs and wind up Maui's dugout. And see a pitcher in a hooded sweatshirt reading Livestrong walk by. Just today Lance Armstrong relinquished all 7 of his Tour victories, to stop the fight agents agent's doping chargers. This, two days after Bortolo Colon of the A's was banned for 50 games for testosterone. And Mekly Cabrarra of the Giants, for the exact same thing. I turn to look for the 65-year old pitcher. Going for the win. How could his still be doing if he was doing the drugs these guys are doing? He's here because of other drugs. He's happy to be here.  From outer space.

Space man gives up a run. It's 4-4.

I'm sitting next to a woman and we get to talking. She's from Boston and grew up watching the Red Sox. Of course she remembers the Spaceman." He used to say some bizarre things. Kara Ann Smith is an attorney. And she's getting real kick out of this pitching performance. She takes photos and has been sending texts to her brothers who still live in New England. "They're not responding. I keep forgetting they're three hours later. They have to work tomorrow." Smith recalls working at Fenway during the Spaceman's heyday. "I was going to school in Canada but when my friend accepted a job for ten of her friends, running stats I hitched down—It was great!"

Now in the bottom of 7th. The bases are loaded because of an intentional walk that no one can figure out. And the pitcher throws to DJ Dixon. And he hits a 3-run double, 7-4. In the 8th Space man comes up to bat for the third time, he drags a bunt down the 3red-base line and moves the runner, who would soon score over to third. Spaceman was called out at first, but it was close. Now up 9-4, The Spaceman, all 65 years of him, was going too close it out and beat the record.


A single sheet of white typing paper scrolls
down and around to face front.
It snaps into place as Smith-Corona waits.


A manual indentation is made.
To start a new paragraph begin with a single word.
Finish it by striking one key with the right hand's ring finger. Period.

That's the sound of fingers depressing the keys
of the typewriter in the room down the hall.
Set atop a rickety desk, the typewriter is electricity.

Hrrrrrrrrrrrrt. Out comes the page, one of many.
Slapped, character side down, the page enters the box from which it came.


A feral cat named for his stripes is lost. Likely not to be found, coyotes run rampant in these parts.

There was a knock at the door. Oh here we go. Another solicitor. The woman on the other side says her name is Diane. She's holding a laminated something I can’t make out. I thought she was selling cleaning solution like the last solicitor who had a phony form and a plastic bottle. But she wasn’t. She wasn’t selling anything. She lives across the street. At–the house with the gardens. The image is of her cat, Stripy. Diane tells me his name is due to his stripes. Stripy's feral, Diane says. She’s had him for a few years. Stripy's been missing for three days. And Diane is concerned.

Heidi's going bonkers. She greets all visitors like they're best friends. She jumps and sits at the feet of them, wagging her tail, waiting to be petted. She wants attention. I mention to Diane that Heidi doesn’t allow animals to get close to the house. And that Stripy probably won’t be found here. Diane is nice. She thanks me. I hope Stripy comes home.
  • Side note: I used to have a couch named Stripy for the same reason that Diane’s cat got his name. It’s the same couch in American History X. This was pointed out to me.
A couch named for its stripes. photo in jar

The next morning I’m looking at a poster for Stripy that Diane must have put up. I’ve been noticing these missing cat posters lately. A woman walking her dog, yells to me. I saw a coyote. I hadn’t seen one in awhile but saw one this morning. It was young one, she says. She's telling me because of my pup. She’s ten. A coyote, around here? The woman with the dog walks past. She points that it was just up the hill. Over one street.

 I go back to the picture, admiring those stripes. Poor little guy doesn't stand a chance.

Also, it turns out a lot of cats look like Stripy.


I was home when the painter first came by. I knew someone was at the door because the dog was barking. I opened it and out she went. She greeted the visitor by leaping to his waist. People who come to the door have to deal with this, she's the security system. I say this to the painter but it doesn't matter. He's scratching her behind the ears. He says my landlord's name and mentions touch-ups. He steps back to take in the house. He compliments it like I built it, and pulls out his wallet for a business card. They're stuck together, a stack of them. The dog has taken off into the neighbor's yard. I wasn't paying attention, now she's not responding to me calling her back inside. I admire that about her, that carefree attitude, her negligence and disrespect for me. I actually admire it. But right now it's annoying. Even more so than this painter. The painter says, You better get your dog before she goes too far. What this property needs more than exterior touch ups is a fence. I can't see her, I can't hear the jingle of her tags. She is not responding to me clapping, whistling and name-calling. I get out the leash and jangle that around. With a soup can I scoop  dog food from the bag and rattle that around. It's a sound she salivates for, and not just saliva, bubbles normally form on the sides of her mouth when she hears those pellets in tin can. But right now, she's out of earshot, she's onto this trick. The one trick I need my dog to do right now she won't.
For 8 a.m., it seems dark to me. I must have been asleep when she left for work. I was up early, maybe four, and did some reading until my head hurt and I could fall back asleep. Now I'm awake. It's the ratcheting—rick-a-tick-a-tick-a-tick—the sound of ladders on the back of the house, that wakes me. The painters are here.


There is a flyer taped to the 2 hour only parking sign. It reads Found Monkey, but the k in monkey has been crossed out. And below the Sharpie drawing of a wad of bills is a brief sentence that reads: 

I found a sum of money at this location. Thank You
If this is directed at you, I'm sorry. Because if you lost the money it will be impossible for you to contact the person who found it. The finder has left no contact information.
Returning to the site where your money was lost, you'll quickly gather that the sum has been found. Because of this sign you learn that the finder was a keeper, that the finder has a sick sense of humor. And is artistic. Grateful even for the find. The finder wanted you to know that he found your money.
Or he doesn't care. It doesn't matter to the finder if you the loser return to the site or not. If you knew where you lost a wad of cash wouldn't you just return there? Shouldn't you try not to lose cash money in the first place? Unless of course alcohol was involved, which is a good assumption due to the proximity of the flyer to the bar across the street.
So maybe the flyer is a way to clear the conscious, or to artfully express a sense of gratitude.
I imagine the loser waking up in a flash. She remembers getting into the passenger side of a car (the street sign is on the right hand side of the road), and fumbling with a pocket stuffed with loose things. She races back to that scene the next morning when she realizes she didn't spend all of that money. But by then the wad is gone. And maybe the sign is up or maybe it isn't. Cash doesn't last on the street.
And then again maybe the loser didn't return at all, say, the flash never came.  
How much money and how it was spent is any person but the one who found its guess.
Suddenly, a young the young man walks past. He notices the sign and chuckles to himself. He looks down and around thinking he might find some money there, but there's no money there, neither a little nor a lot, just his beat up tennis shoes.


Congratulations on
your engage-

I don’t know who told me,
it’s not like we have
the same friends

I wish I never
found out.
I do.

You may not kiss the bride.
Part of me dies in front
of my own eyes,
as I spectate it.

You are the performer in
my mind, an image, the
character there on my
computer's screen.

I see this as
news for

I get out the letters, and
the old photographs.
The physical things
I’m left to look at
when I’m feeling
— nostalgic is
not the right

On your wedding day,
I am not there. I
wasn’t invited,

wouldn’t go
if I was.

Physically, I
am far away
and that’s

I play out the day in my head.
You, walking down the aisle
all smiles. Happy, I see
and your family,
they are so

They’ve stopped thinking about me.
My name, it doesn’t come up.
It’s not just that I’m not
there, it’s like I never
was there.

Your eyes and my
eyes make contact.
There's that
sparkle I've

It’s not for me,
though, it is
for him.

It will never
be for me


On the plane the intercom comes on and wakes me up from the dream and because I try to pay attention and listen to a woman’s voice ask if there is a doctor on board, a nurse, an EMT, anything, to please push your call button, and then, thank you. I wait. I hear a ding and then nothing. The few people I can see crank their heads up and down the aisle. The woman on my right puts down her Brad Meltzer book in her lap and the poor binding comes apart and the page that begins Chapter 32 comes out and she doesn’t notice, it won’t affect the plot. The page slips down her skirt between us. She curious about who is hurt, who’s dying on the plane she’s flying. And I'm wondering if this means we’ll have to emergency land.


Five women, scantily clad in their loose and light dresses with their breasts showing just so much with their skin artificially tan and their teeth artificially white and their hair artificially highlighted and their wrinkles tucked and their eyes half closed walk in, one's looking directly at me, still walking, approaching, her hand coming to the counter, she's still walking, and she lightly taps the top of my hand with her finger tips.

If my grandfather had a Linkedin profile in 1963 it would look like this

Royall George Smith
Vice-President — Copy
Lennen & Newell | Marketing and Advertising


Vice-President of Copy
Lennen & Newell
1956-Present (7 years)
Young & Rubicam

Kenyon & Eckhardt 

Benton & Bowles 

J. Walter Thompson 


copy     fiction      building contractor


University of Arizona



Groups &
Advertising Writers Association

Activities and Societies:
Aluminum Heart (Doubleday)
Columbia Journalism Review


The following haikus were written on a reporter's pad soon after Steve and I moved to Portland at the end of 2004. The pad was kept in the bathroom of our apartment. Steve's in bold. 

You showed me respect
for my mother and women, also work ethic
You would shake your head

Your wife needs some help 
I walked away from Grandma
Don't hate me for that 

I shall do my best 
Will it be enough for you 
if I stay true blue?

I want all the time 
to think about the one time 
that we connected.  

Twenty-five years old
psychotic relationship 
Who knocks this time?

Life that is ruined
forty-dollar desk trade back
 message: I love you. 

Who could it be?
Jerry and Rachel Nobel; 
they want to meet up.

Vacation from pride, 
gestation lasts for 3 months, 
elation, can't hide.

No need for comma, 
just let sentence go, flow. 
OK, how bout now,


Last year
was left sitting
in the next to
best seat in the house.

In front of it was
a shot glass
of spilled whiskey
(re)filled with beer.

2011 was
left alone with
the coats.

They're seated
three: his, hers, his.

Not seated
but standing:
he, she, them.

In the new year,
the vision forward
the rear view—
periphery seems

This year
a better seat.